'And Then It Hit Me...' by Andrew Norman

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Currently Composer in Residence for both the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Andrew Norman has collaborated with a fast growing list of renowned ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and yMusic. His string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was a 2012 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Norman was a featured composer for the New York Philharmonic's most recent installment of its CONTACT! series.

And Then It Hit Me... by Andrew Norman

Confession: I get confused a lot about music. When asked who my favorite composers are, I usually freeze up, paralyzed in a moment of self-doubt. Same goes for favorite pieces. I often wonder about this disturbing inability to articulate my tastes and values in music; perhaps it's due to the fact that my tastes and values are constantly in flux, and also that my opinions about specific pieces are always growing and changing, too (It's all so contingent! How can anyone pronounce good and bad with any certainty?). In any case, this mixtape assignment from Q2 was not as easy for me as it could have been.

But then (to borrow the hook from BAM's recent subway campaign) it hit me: why not assemble a playlist from the pieces that have knocked my socks off on first listening. While some of my most beloved pieces are on the slow-burn-to-liking track, these are compositions that swept me off my feet instantly — pieces I wanted to rip off as soon as I could figure out how. I'm sure it was largely circumstantial — where I heard them, how I found them, what kind of mood I was in (I first heard the Oval track on my brand new ipod while climbing up and around the towers of the Segrada Familia, for instance), but in each case I can still remember that pow of a moment of first discovery, which is why I'm including them here. Kudos to Caroline Shaw and Roomful of Teeth for being my most recent "hit me" experience; that whole album is amazing.


Caroline Shaw: Sarabande (performed by Roomful of Teeth)
Anders Hillborg: King Tide
Oval: Track 1
Gerard Grisey: Prelude from Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil
Flying Lotus: Clockcatcher
Ted Hearne: Brownie, You're doing a Heckuva Job
Squarepusher: Greenways Trajectory
Thomas Ades: Asyla: IV
Tyondai Braxton: Platinum Rows